“After I first heard, I used to be simply shocked — simply complete shock,” mentioned Robert Hubbard. “It made no sense to me understanding the gentleman I knew, the younger wrestler I knew since he was about 8 or 9 years outdated. It simply made no sense.”
Hubbard is a highschool wrestling coach in Akron, Ohio and continues to be processing the dying of 25-year-old Jayland Walker — shot by police dozens of instances after a visitors cease on June 27.
Police video reveals a stream of gunshots following a chase with eight officers, though Walker was unarmed on the time. The launched footage sparked protests in downtown Akron this week as Walker turned the most recent image of shock over Black deaths by the hands of regulation enforcement.
However Hubbard will keep in mind Walker as “one of many sweetest youngsters.” He coached him as a younger wrestler for years.
“A kind of youngsters, you recognize, I want I had 10 of them on my crew. That was the kind of child he was,” Hubbard mentioned.
“His father introduced him to a youth wrestling crew we now have. And ultimately I obtained him in highschool, and he was a child that I by no means had any issues from. I’ve had some youngsters which have examined me and pushed me. Jayland Walker was not a type of youngsters.”
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Hubbard mentioned police video of the capturing was too traumatic for him to observe in its entirety, however from what he might inform, Walker’s habits in making an attempt to run from police was uncommon.
“The Jayland I do know — that is completely out of character. I do not know. I perceive he was going by means of some stuff. He’d simply misplaced his fiancée in a horrible automotive accident.”
Akron Police Chief Steve Mylett mentioned officers tried to drag Walker over for unspecified visitors and gear violations, however that he did not comply straight away and that the sound of a shot was heard from the automotive, altering the scene from an ordinary visitors cease to a “public security difficulty.” Officers mentioned they feared that Walker was making ready to fireside a gun after they discharged their weapons.
The incident has made Hubbard maintain his circle of relatives slightly nearer currently. As he talks about his sons, there’s an undercurrent of worry that certainly one of them is likely to be subsequent.
“My son was residence this weekend from faculty as a result of he simply graduated from Ohio State in Columbus,” Hubbard mentioned. “Man, I needed to give him an additional hug. Like, I am so glad I’ve my son right here. I can hug you.”
MATTHEW HATCHER/AFP through Getty Photos
Hubbard mentioned he hoped that if somebody he loves was ever in the identical scenario as Walker was with the police, that they attempt to help, not hurt.
“My want is that they’ll get them the assistance — not be choose and jury,” he mentioned. “However truly, you recognize, if he must be arrested, get him arrested. That might be my want — to not be afraid of him to the purpose that after I’ve put 60 rounds in him, he nonetheless must be handcuffed.”
Greater than 60 gunshot wounds had been discovered on Jayland Walker’s physique. Officers had been filmed offering help after the capturing, and one mentioned he felt a pulse. However Walker was later pronounced useless on the scene. The household’s lawyer mentioned the capturing continued even after Walker fell to the bottom, and that he was handcuffed earlier than being given medical help. The officers concerned have been positioned on paid administrative depart.
“I am not a police knowledgeable on protocol or something,” Hubbard mentioned. “You recognize, over these years, we have been speaking about de-escalation. It appeared like there was no de-escalation. And as soon as that automotive stopped, they had been simply on 100 as quickly as they obtained on the market. Because the households say, it looks as if you would not deal with an animal that approach. That was — it was heartbreaking.”
Hubbard needs to know why the officers did not see somebody in want, fairly than a menace.
“I feel at worst, Jayland might need wanted some assist,” he mentioned. “If they’d dealt with it otherwise, if they’d, you recognize, subdued him and obtained him in, they most likely might’ve gotten him some assist. That is any person that has not damage anyone.”
This week, President Joe Biden made transient remarks concerning the capturing of Walker, saying that the Justice Division’s civil rights division and the native U.S. lawyer’s workplace was carefully monitoring what had occurred. He additionally mentioned the FBI was coordinating with state and native companions.
“If the proof reveals potential violations of federal prison statutes, the Justice Division will take applicable motion,” Biden mentioned.
When requested what he thinks justice would appear to be right here, Hubbard mentioned he hadn’t considered that. He was nonetheless making an attempt to course of the lack of the particular person he knew and cherished. However he is aware of one factor:
“What I would like is for no one else to must lose a cherished one the way in which Jayland’s household misplaced him.”